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Weald of Kent Ploughing Match in Marden celebrates rural pastimes

By Angela Cole

They’re outstanding in their field.

Ploughmen from all over the county will converge on the Weald this weekend for the annual Weald of Kent Ploughing Match.

The event attracts thousands each year to Gatehouse Farm in Marden to see ploughing with horses, steam engines and more modern techniques, plus some truly rural pastimes including terrier racing and tug-of-war and a tossing the sheaf contest which is open to all visitors.

The Weald of Kent Ploughing Match will be held in Marden Picture: Matthew Walker
The Weald of Kent Ploughing Match will be held in Marden Picture: Matthew Walker

There will be 10 gymkhana classes for children, including show-jumping and fancy dress, and a fun dog show and dog agility.

Birds of prey will be flying in to put on displays and there will be gun dogs and the Ashford Valley and Bolebroke hounds will be parading.

To keep your strength up, there will be a farmers’ market with 35 local producers selling food and drink and trade stalls with around 80 stands, a bar area and catering.

The Bolebroke hounds Picture: Matthew Walker
The Bolebroke hounds Picture: Matthew Walker

James Forknall, chairman of organisers the Weald of Kent Ploughing Match Association, said: “This is an important event in the farming diary, which brings the rural community together and celebrates growing the best crops and hops, as well as providing the opportunity to take part in the many different events. It is also an important event as it raises money for local and national charities each year, so come along and enjoy a great family day out in the beautiful surroundings of the Weald.”

The first ploughing match took place in Staplehurst in 1946 to help raise money for the Red Cross. Today, the association contributes to local and national charities.

The match is on Saturday, September 16, with gates open between 9am and 7pm. Parking is free and entry is £5, with under 12s free. For more details visit wkpma.co.uk

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